by my favorite substitute teacher: Bill Stoner
I was reading a story about a young dragon who was lonely and wanted to find someone to be his friend. I wasn’t reading to myself, rather I had a captivated audience of eighteen first graders who seemed to be very interested listeners. Most of them hadn’t heard the story before and wanted to know all about Dragon’s dilemma. How was he going to make friends and where was he going to look? Well, Dragon decided he would venture out and see who he could find. First, he saw a squirrel and asked him if he would be his friend. But the squirrel made it quite clear he didn’t have time for another friend and just swished his tail in total disapproval and scooted off. Then he saw a hippo, sunbathing in the river without a concern in the world. Hippo made it clear that he didn’t want to be bothered with a friend and keeping cool was his only priority. Next came the snake. Now Dragon didn’t see the snake slithering up beside him, but he did see a beautiful red delicious apple sitting right in front of him on an old tree stump. This gave the snake an idea. While Dragon was eyeing up the apple, the snake starting to speak from behind the bushes. “Hello Dragon, do you want to be my friend?” Of course, Dragon fell for the deception, hook, line, and sinker, thinking the apple was talking to him and that he wanted to be his friend. Now, I’m not going to give the ending away (…there is a funeral in the end just in case you are interested) because by now you probably know where I am going with this. Deception. We are as gullible as anybody, but not as much as those eighteen first graders sitting directly in front of me.
Deception is throughout the Bible. Adam and Eve were deceived by the snake in the Garden of Eden. Jacob deceived Isaac into thinking that he was Esau. And of course, Abraham fooled King Abimelech into thinking that Sarah was his sister. Today the deceptions may be more subtle but are just as deadly. Paul said this in Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” The Christian who is preoccupied with the things of God, rather than the fleshly things of the world, will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Spiritual fruit is what all of us, who know Christ, desire for ourselves as well as others. It is demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control in our everyday lives. Some would tell us that is impossible, that we are just poor sinners who are trying to get by. Not so! When we work with the Spirit, we can do some amazing things. Our lives should be looking to help others, to know and follow Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. But remember, don’t be deceived. Don’t believe the lie! If an apple starts talking to you, don’t believe a word that he says. He’s just rotten to the core!